Career/Technical Education: Graduation Requirements
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Career/Technical Education: Graduation Requirements

The states below have state-set graduation requirements related to one or more of the following:

Career/vocational courses are a required option for all students: Students must choose between CTE and another course option (usually foreign language or arts) to meet graduation requirements. This does not include states that allow students to complete elective units through career/technical courses. Twenty-eight states have career/vocational courses as a required option for all students.
Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements: Twenty-one states indicate students may substitute an approved career and technical education course for a standard core course.
All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence: Indicates that all students must complete a specified number of Carnegie units in a specific area of interest (either academic or technical). Five states require all students to complete a career concentration/major/sequence.
State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available: Twelve states offer students the opportunity to earn a career/technical diploma or endorsement.

Why does it matter?

  • Courses built on the application of learning benefit all students.
  • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsements can help validate expertise.
  • To avoid perceptions of less rigor, career and technical education courses need to be aligned to the standards for all students.
  • Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and will be updated as new policies are enacted.

    Last updated: June 2008

    Research conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth for questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.



    Graduation requirements
    Alabama
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Arizona
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Arkansas
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    California
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Connecticut
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Delaware
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence
    District of Columbia
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: Through the Class of 2010, all students are required to complete one unit career/vocational education. Effective with the Class of 2011, students must complete either two units of career/technology education or college-level courses.
    Florida
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Georgia
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Hawaii
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: New Citation
    Idaho
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Illinois
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Indiana
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Kentucky
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Louisiana
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Maryland
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    Massachusetts
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Minnesota
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Missouri
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: Effective with the Class of 2010, all students are required to complete one unit of "practical arts."
    Montana
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: One unit of vocational-technical education is required for graduation.
    Nevada
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: Students must complete 1 unit of either "arts and humanities" or "occupational education" and .5 unit "use of computers."
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    New Hampshire
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    New Jersey
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    New Mexico
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    North Carolina
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Ohio
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Oklahoma
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Oregon
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    South Carolina
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • All students must complete a career concentration/major/sequence
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    South Dakota
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Tennessee
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    Utah
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Notes/Citation: Beginning with 2010-2011 school year, one credit of career and technical education will be required from eight career clusters: Agriculture; business; family and consumer sciences; health science and technology; information technology; marketing; technology and engineering education; and, trade and technical education.
    Virginia
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    • State-level career/technical diploma or endorsement is available
    Washington
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    West Virginia
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements
    • Student may substitute an approved CTE course for a standard core course to meet high school graduation requirements
    Wyoming
    • Students must choose between CTE and another course option to meet graduation requirements

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